Fitness Trackers, Part V/V, The App

Concluding the series on fitness trackers, we evaluate the apps they use.



12/13/20210 min read

Many of us "live" on our phones because the information is right there in our hands, accessible whenever we want it. Fitness wearable apps were absolutely thought through with this idea in mind.

The app is there to review what we did, monitor what we are currently do, plan for the next day, week, etc. and learn from our long-term trends.

I'll start by reviewing through the Fitbit app, and then after, I'll examine some comparisons with other apps.

Immediately when you enter the Fitbit app, you're greeted with a "pie graph" style step counter. Then underneath, how many floors, how many miles you've walked, how many calories you have burned, and how many active (exercise) minutes you've accumulated that day.

As you scroll down, it'll say how many days you have "tracked your mindfulness", your sleep stats, how many days of exercise for the week, what your exercise for the day looked like, your current resting heart rate and your aerage, how many hours during the day you have reached 250 steps or more, some info about your cycle if you're a female and want to track that, how much weight you've lost and how much more is left, how much water you've consumed and how much is left, and same with calories with their food tracker.

Within each of these categories are graphs, additional settings, calendars, and ways to track things more specifically.

For your sleep stats, it's a little more interesting. You achieve a sleep score each day out of 100 that rates your quality of sleep based on total time, sleep cycle, how often you woke and for how long and premium memberships track even more. I only have the free version of the app and it's enough for me.

The exercise part of the app measures the time, the calorie burn within that time, average heart rate, and percent of the workout that your heart rate was within each heart rate zone.

For example, my treadmill walk today told me I spend 98% of that hour in the fat burn zone and 2% under that. Sunday's hike was 58% and 44 minutes in fat burn, 24 in cardio, 5 in peak and 2 in below, with 124bpm as an average, 166 was my maximum heart rate. So for that hike, it gave me all of that information.

I took a look at the Garmin Connect app, and it looks like a lot of the same infomation is tracked. It has an additional menu for stress management and a gps mode for outdoor walking to measure distance more accurately. It appears to track respiration rate too, and looks to have more ways to plan your weekly workout schedule.

Both apps have ways to connect with friends and have simple fitness challenges, and earn badges for certain milesones.

Apple Fitness+ is used for the apple watch. It looks like it isn't a free app, and costs $80 a year. With that you do get new workouts each week. It appears that there is more of an emphasis on live video tracking, especially when in workouts or streaming with friends. They also have guided meditation sessions included with this subsciption.

Separately from that is Healthcare on the Apple Watch. They are talking about tracking ECG, more with notifications, including notifications about heart rate, especially with any noticed irregularities. The ECG tracking feature requires a separate app.

Cardio fitness is tracked with a VOmax reading, and mobility is measured with stride length and walking asymetry, but I'm unclear about whether this, too is on a different app.

Additional alerts on the watch can detect a fall, medical ID can be set up for emergencies, health records can be accessible for medical appointments.

While all this sounds helpful, I'm not quite sure how streamlined the process really is for daily self-tracking. While perusing the apple sites about this, since I'm not much of an Apple user, I had a really hard time finding how all of this was set up.

I apologize if my bias is showing in this review, but it was really hard to find more information about the tracking interface for the Apple watch. I thought the Garmin app was a nice design though, easy on the eyes.

So this concludes my series on fitness tracking. I hope that if you were on the fence about wearables, that this gave you some insight on whether you should purchase one, what to look for, and how to start your search.

Please reach out if there is something you'd like more clarification on.

The bottom line is that fitness tracking and wearables are powerful pieces of technology that do two important things:

They give you personalized insight and information that nothing else can

They make you more aware of what you need to do, because the improvement in numbers is interesting and motivating, so the gradual mindset shift reprograms you to put more effort into your health.

While not required for any of my programs, I highly recommend them to my clients because it makes their actions more consistent and decisions become more aligned with their goals.

Can I help you with any of your goals for now or in 2022? Shoot me a message!